Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, 225:2152 | Cite as

Stabilization of Heavy Metals in Mining Site Soil with Silica Extracted from Corn Cob

  • Jaehong Shim
  • Patrick J. Shea
  • Byung-Taek Oh


Corn cob silica (CCS), produced via a modification of the sol-gel method, can reduce heavy metal availability and stabilize contaminated soil on abandoned mining sites. Adding 5 % (w/w) CCS to mining site soil increased pH from 4.0 to 7.7, and cation exchange capacity increased from 94.5 to 100.3 cmol+/kg. Sequential extraction showed that adding CCS decreased heavy metal availability in the soil. Mobility factor (MF) values indicated that CCS reduced Pb mobility more than that of Zn or Cu in all fractions. Pb concentrations in leachate from all fractions using the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) were greatly decreased by adding 3 % (w/w) CCS. CCS similarly reduced Zn concentrations in TCLP leachate. CCS addition did not impact Cu concentrations in leachate, likely because concentrations were much lower than those of the other metals. As was generally less mobile than the heavy metals; however, As mobility and leachability tended to increase with CCS addition because its oxyanions arsenite and arsenate have low affinity for negatively charged surfaces on the CCS. Shoot and root growth of Spinacia oleracea L. (spinach) was much greater in CCS-treated soil than in unamended soil. Results demonstrate the utility of CCS to stabilize heavy metals in contaminated mining site soil, but this treatment may not be ideal for As-contaminated soils.


Contaminated mine soil Heavy metals Stabilization Metal availability Corn cob silica (CCS) Spinacia oleracea L. 



This study was supported by the research funds of Chonbuk National University, 2013. Funds were also received from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in association with the USDA multistate project W2082.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaehong Shim
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patrick J. Shea
    • 2
  • Byung-Taek Oh
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Biotechnology, Advanced Institute of Environmental and Bioresource SciencesChonbuk National UniversityIksanSouth Korea
  2. 2.School of Natural ResourcesUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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